Mature People Mature People
One of the things that leaders have to think about is the development of the members of their team. It is an interesting challenge, and is a responsibility that comes with the role. Whether you are the leader of an organisation that consists of multiple teams, or you are a leader of a small team in a larger context, this is a subject you need to give thought to.
Here are some of the most common statements or questions I have heard regarding the development of staff:
- I had to take initiative and grow, so their growth is their problem.
- It is the company’s responsibility to grow people.
- If they do not have the get-up-and-go to get-up-and-go, then why should I bother?
- It is NOT the company’s responsibility to grow people.
- I am paying them to do a job that they should already be competent at, so why should I pay to develop them?
- Why should I invest in someone and then they leave?
- Why should I invest in someone because it will increase their value and I will have to pay them more?
There are some organisations that see their role as developers of raw talent. There are other organisations that are not interested, and they employ people who are already skilled. This is a value choice and is something that as a leader you need to be comfortable with.
Context and Realities
Before we give thought to this leadership question it is important to set the context, and for me the context will always be sustainable productivity. I use the word sustainable because it is easy to overwork and abuse staff to get short-term productivity, but the skill of a good leader is to manage the team so that productivity is sustainable.
Put in another way, the key reason to enables someone’s development is so that they can become productive. This applies to a child as well as a person in a business.
- You cannot make someone else grow.
- You can restrict someone’s growth.
- Almost anything in the proper environment will naturally grow or mature to its full potential.
There are many types of maturity, and people are complex, so we can be mature in one area and immature in another area. In this article I want to differentiate between the technical skills needed to do a job, and the ability to manage one’s life.
What impact does maturity have on productivity? In my view and experience it is the single biggest factor.
I built my coaching company Journey Tools on a premise. The premise is this: The mature produce, and the immature waste. The mature are productive, and the immature are uneconomical.
No matter how skilled someone is, if they are immature, they will waste. They will waste time, money, energy and effort. They will also have a negative impact on the productivity of those around them.
The most common fruit of immaturity that I encounter again and again in companies is when the directors or management meet and there is that one person that they talk about for the first 10 minutes of each meeting. Six directors discussing someone for 10 minutes is wasting an hour of their time at director’s rates.
No matter how skilled someone is, if they are immature they will waste.
If you are recruiting someone for your company the key thing to evaluate is their level of maturity. I have yet to see a recruitment process that measures maturity. It is easier, and more cost effective, to upskill a mature person than to mature a skilled person. In the short-term, and at face-value, a skilled person will produce more than the mature person, but in the long run they will waste more than they produce.
This does not only apply to individuals. The maturity of an individual, a team, a company or organisation will have a direct impact on their ability to produce.
Location, Location, Location
What is your role as a leader? Your role is to create the right environment!
If you put anything into the right environment it will mature naturally. If you plant a tree in the right environment it will grow and mature. If you crush grapes and put them in the right environment they will mature into wine. Everyone matures at their own pace, and very few mature when they are comfortable, but you cannot force or rush maturity.
As a leader you need to ask yourself these questions:
- Am I creating an environment in which my team can grow, or am I creating an environment that restricts their growth?
- Am I growing?
If a leader is immature, it is not likely that they will enable other’s growth. Mature people mature people.
It is important to create an environment in your team where people want to grow. You do not want a team that does as little as possible so that they can get paid.
So, your role as a leader is to do the following
- Create an environment in which people want to grow
- Create an environment in which people are free to grow
Back to an earlier question: What if we develop someone and they leave?
My response: What if you don’t develop them and they stay?